(BOSTON) – Rep. Josh Cutler joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass energy legislation that seeks to protect the Commonwealth’s ratepayers and support clean energy. The bill requires distribution companies to conduct solicitations for 1,200 megawatts (MWs) of offshore wind and supports a total of 2,400 MWs of clean energy, the largest amount the Legislature has included in any single bill.
To spur the timely infusion of reliable clean energy projects in Massachusetts, the bill will also require distribution companies to conduct solicitations for up to 9,450,000 MWhs of energy from either hydropower, or hydropower and Class I renewable resources.
“I’m proud that the House has taken a bold and forward-thinking step in addressing the complex and critical energy challenges facing Massachusetts,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Through this bill, the House tackles these challenges head on, adopting a viable, real-world strategy that will stabilize costs, protect ratepayers and promote clean energy.”
“With the passage of this legislation, the House has taken the first step to establish the foundation for a clean energy future,” said Thomas A. Golden, Jr., Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy (D-Lowell). “This bill calls for an aggressive procurement of large-scale renewables while remaining cognizant of cost to the ratepayer.”
Related provisions include:
All contract proposals must go through a competitive bidding process;
Contracts must be determined to be cost-effective for ratepayers to be approved;
Stipulates that eligible offshore wind developers must build projects in federally leased waters;
Solicitations may be coordinated with other states or state-designated entities, and may staggered over time;
The length of the contracts shall be for 15 – 20 years.
By creating a framework that includes both offshore wind and hydropower this legislation promotes a diverse energy portfolio that will replace some of the power the Commonwealth is losing from older, dirtier sources scheduled to shut down. With a similarly forward-looking perspective, the focus on offshore wind will cultivate a new industry and create jobs here in Massachusetts.
The legislation includes a series of ratepayer protections including a requirement that the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Attorney General jointly-select an independent evaluator to assist the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to determine whether the procurement process is open, fair, and transparent.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.